Genga Ponnampalam wanted to make it easier for people to eat healthy food, so after a long stint as a computer programmer, he founded Go Veggies—a vegetarian and vegan outfit that culls local produce and morphs it into hearty dishes, some of which hail from his native Sri Lanka. At farmers markets, grocery stores, and a café space, he and his staff delight taste buds with healthy cuisine that’s good for the environment, like carpooling or bikepooling to work. They also positively impact the community by composting their food waste and recycling their packaging.
Pan's menus showcase an eclectic array of vegetarian, vegan, meaty, and gluten-free dishes derived from fresh, locally sourced, and organic ingredients. The recently added dinner menu coos to diners with enticing tapas, such as a trio of baked potato skins, garlic hummus, and sweet peppers ($5.65), or the complementary grilled cheese and local-apple compote ($5.45). The gratin provencale layers roasted vegetables alongside goat cheese before powering up the dish with a classic polenta and swiss chard wilted just slightly ($15.45), like a reality TV contestant's heart. Alternatively, the miso trout mingles with shiitake mushrooms, sweet carrots, and scallions in an inhibition-eradicating miso marinade ($16.95).
Terroir La Cachette, tucked away in the heart of Niagra-on-the-Lake, plates fresh, local cuisine in the Provençal style— hearty ingredients saturated with simple flavours. An award winning wine list, with selections from Strewn Winery—home to La Cachette—compliments Chef Alain Levesque's menu's twists on French countryside fare. For lunch, dig into the braised onion, wild mushroom, and camembert tart nestled in a bed of greens ($15), or for dinner, salve stomach hunger sensations with the popular Brome Lake duck confit, glazed with a sour cherry bigarade ($30). A vibrant, convivial atmosphere and peaceful terrace evokes windswept Provençal landscapes and the urge to toss windswept Provençal Frisbees.
As a child, Lorraine, the owner of The Crown and Crumpet Tea Room, lived with her family above a restaurant in the United Kingdom, eventually owning her own teahouse, Petticoat Tails, in Winchcome in the Cotswolds. Years later, after moving to Ontario, Lorraine came across a historical brick house built in 1929, and immediately saw its potential as a classic teahouse. The home gives one the sensation of having stepped into another time and place, furthered by antique tea sets and imported British candies including blackcurrant licorice and toffee bonbons.
Beneath the crisp lines of British flags hanging from the walls, the family uses produce and ingredients from local farms to make lunch, high tea, and dessert each day. Lorraine’s rotating menus have included leek-and-goat-cheese quiche with fresh local asparagus as well as lamb with mango chutney carved tableside. In a sunny outside garden, cups click against saucers painted with colourful sprays of flowers like the world’s least intimidating monster truck.
Though framed pictures of the starlet decorate Marilyn Monroe Cafe, its proprietors maintain that their chic coffeehouse is not a shrine to the Hollywood actress. Rather, they feel it’s the kind of place Marilyn would feel comfortable in as a modern, style-loving gal. To accomplish this vibe, they outfitted their elegant, bright white interior with plush crescent booths, stylish lighting fixtures, and sleek glass dividers that house translucent television screens. The space’s warmth complements the equally warm aroma of specialty coffee drinks, such as crème brulee and red velvet lattes. Baristas handcraft these and other beverages with certified organic and fair trade coffee from Central America, Indonesia, and Northern Africa.
The drinks, in turn, complement the cafe’s eclectic menu, which runs the gamut from organic oatmeal to cilantro quinoa salads. Marilyn Monroe Cafe also stocks plenty of dessert options, including white chocolate cranberry biscotti and tuxedo tortes, which can double as formalwear for underdressed gingerbread men.
Yogurty's, a proudly Canadian company, claims that at their stores, no two customers have ever made the same exact treat twice. It would be nearly impossible—low- or no-fat, probiotic-rich frozen yogurt comes in more than 85 flavours, ranging from carmel latte to banana split to red velvet, and 65 toppings allow patrons to swirl, drizzle, and sprinkle tasty treats until they resemble works of icy art. Their gluten-free yogurt, a natural source of protein, calcium, and probiotics, is made from fresh milk right off of Canadian farms and supports healthy digestive systems and immunity. The cheerful stores showcase bright colors—nearly as bright as bubblegum and orange cream, topped with sour gummi worms, and rainbow sprinkles.